The PGA Tour stars head to Texas to take on Colonial Country Club in the lead-up to the PGA Championship this week. Scroll down for my Charles Schwab Challenge betting tips, but first…
- Also: KLM Open betting tips
Charles Schwab Challenge preview
Venue: Colonial Country Club, Texas, USA
Date: May 25-28, 2023
Course stats: Par 70; 7,209 yards
Course summary: Colonial is a flat parkland that is heavily bunkered with tight tree-lined tee shots. Shotmakers will have success on this track. Accuracy is critical and the course doesn’t favour those who are longer off the tee. Water comes into play on around a third of the holes and there is a high probability that wind will play a factor.
Purse: $8.4 million
Defending champion: Sam Burns (-9)
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf from 5.30pm and Main Event from 5.30pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf from 5.30pm and Main Event from 10.15pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 5pm and Main Event from 10.30pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf from 4pm and Main Event from 11pm
2023 Charles Schwab Challenge tips
The Banker: Cameron Davis @ 40/1
There is no question that Cameron Davis is going to be a popular selection this week, but I am not about to leave a potential winner on the table, especially when statistically he looks to be a great fit right now for this test.
Davis returned to form first at the Players Championship where he finished T6, but after a run of really poor results, I wasn’t convinced that meant a lot, given it was all driven by an excellent short game on and around the greens that week.
Then the Aussie played solidly at the Match Play, before adding a T7 finish at the RBC Heritage, where he ranked 14th in SG Approach. He followed these up with a T4 finish last week in the PGA Championship, which was largely down to a strong final round, but it was his ball striking all that week that caught the eye.
Davis ranked 10th in SG Approach last week, and that now means in his past two starts he has ranked 14th and 10th in that department and 4th both times in SG Tee to Green. He now carries this form into an event that he finished T7 at last year, and I like the form he has shown at other courses that could link to this. Top 15 finishes at the Wyndham Championship, John Deere Classic, and the FedEx St Jude look like they could provide some clues, as does his strong effort at the WGC Match Play this year, where he started his group play off well with two wins, before being beaten by a strong, Xander Schauffele.
A winner on Tour and a player that is now in strong form, I will take my chances that he rides last week’s form to another strong finish in Texas this week.
The Each-Way Play: Chris Kirk @ 45/1
I think Chris Kirk is being severely undervalued this season, with many not really appreciating the run he went on at the start of the year, before winning a fifth PGA Tour title at the Honda Classic.
He’s not done an awful lot wrong since either, having made both major cuts, finishing T23 at Augusta and T29 last week, as well as finishing T10 at the Valero Texas Open, where he was 4th going into Sunday.
Kirk continues to make cuts driven by strong tee-to-green play, and I personally just think he’s waiting for the next suitable course to challenge again, with places like Augusta and Oak Hill perhaps just too big of a test for him at this stage.
We know Colonial is right up his street, as he has played there 12 times, winning once, and never missing a cut. In that time he’s also added six more top-16 finishes, making him one of the most consistent performers on this golf course. Chris Kirk’s early career is being undervalued because there was an eight-year gap between his 4th and 5th wins, but this season he has shown signs of returning to his earlier self, and that is a great sign as he heads to one of, if not his favourite course on the PGA Tour schedule
Another Each Way: Brendon Todd @ 80/1
Brendon Todd is not always the best course fit. In fact, his skillset means that is not often the case at all on the PGA Tour, but when he is a good fit you should take notice, especially when he’s shown signs of form, which he has.
Before a missed cut at last week’s PGA Championship, Todd was in solid form, making six straight cuts, which eventually led to a T8 finish at Quail Hollow. That is a course that is far less suitable for his game than this one, and Todd’s history at Colonial backs that up.
In seven starts at Colonial, Todd has missed three cuts, but on the four occasions he’s made the weekend he has posted three top-10 finishes, two of which have come in the past two years.
Todd finished 5th at this course on his second start, was 43rd the following year, but had been in 15th going into the weekend, and then after a spell of not playing or missing the cut, Todd has finished 8th and 3rd here. When third here last year, Todd was second going into the final day but could only shoot a final round 71, and instead fell a spot rather than competing. But at 80/1 I like having a player that I know can get in the mix at this event, something he has shown he can do four times already in his career.
The Long Shot: Ryan Palmer @ 100/1
Ryan Palmer did just miss out on a spot at the US Open as he was one shot shy of an alternate and two shots shy of securing the place. He was in prime position to do so having been second going into the second round, but in the end, he couldn’t quite hang on.
That disappointment might take some getting over but the good news is he returns to Colonial this week, where he and his caddie are members and where he has posted four top-six finishes over the past 15 years.
The course form narrative is no good if he’s not in form, but there have been plenty of good signs recently even before his solid run at US Open qualifying yesterday.
Palmer finished T35 at Quail Hollow, where he was in second place after round one thanks to an opening round 66, and he followed that up with an 8th place finish down the road at TPC Craig Ranch. In these two starts, Palmer has struck the ball nicely and even after ejecting at the Byron Nelson, where he was the 54-hole co-leader, he ranked 3rd in SG Tee to Green and 8th in SG Approach. His course form and knowledge here will be essential as he looks to build on a great run of form in recent weeks, and Palmer can deliver another one of his top-six finishes at Colonial.
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